Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

The Difference Between a TIC and a Condo

It’s not always obvious whether a property is a condo or tenancy-in-common (TIC) when you’re a buyer who’s searching online for properties. You have to click in to all the details before you realize that the photos of the wonderful “flat” that seems listed kind of low is actually a TIC.

But what’s the difference between a TIC and a condo? All things being equal, couldn’t you just buy a TIC if it has the space and location you want? Continue Reading

Price Reductions Hitting Large SF Buildings

Condos in larger buildings are seeing their fair share of price reductions during corona, based on sales that have closed from July 1 to August 15th.

Twenty percent of the 306 condos sold in that timeframe saw a price chop prior to closing, in various locations throughout San Francisco. But a majority of the reductions were concentrated in the Mission Bay, SoMa and South Beach areas.

Condos in smaller buildings with yards and parking that also have convenient neighborhood locations appear to be holding their values better. Buyers aren’t as quick to write offers on units in hotel-like properties where they have to share elevators and common areas with large numbers of residents. Continue Reading

How to Evaluate a Condo and HOA

The condo market offers excellent opportunities right now for savvy buyers, because there seems to be more inventory than interested purchasers. This is particularly true for condos located in larger buildings and high rises—not so much for units in smaller buildings with access to outdoor space. Those are still popular and go into contract more quickly.

It’s important to consider the complexity of owning this type of property, before you rush out to look at different possibilities.

Here’s a quick primer that will help you evaluate the fundamentals of a condo and its homeowners association (HOA). Continue Reading

SF Single-Family Homes Not Immune To Price Reductions

Houses in San Francisco are always in demand among buyers. And this property type has stood its ground during our current recession—in fact, the average price of a house from June 1 – August 15th has increased by 6.7% to $2,141,356 in comparison to the same time in 2019.

But single-family home sellers are no strangers to the dreaded price reduction decision. Some homes come on the market with high prices in comparison to their comparable sales; it’s no secret that there’s a tendency for homeowners to believe their house is superior for one reason or another.

I took a look at all the houses that sold from June 1 through August 15th and discovered that 17% sold after having at least one price reduction. Continue Reading

My Picks for Price-Reduced Properties

I’m seeing a lot more price reductions happening on a regular basis lately, especially in the $2M+ price ranges for condos. Sellers and their agents are trying to find their accurate home values and the corona market is a work in progress.

I always recommend seeing a property as soon as you can if there’s a big price reduction. A large list price cut tends to attract eyeballs, particularly belonging to folks who had already been through on a showing. Continue Reading

What The Heck is HO-6 Condo Insurance?

You might have HOA insurance coverage when buying a condo, but you have to purchase your own “walls-in” coverage during escrow.

Lenders require what’s known as HO-6 insurance. Otherwise known as hazard or individual unit coverage, HO-6 insurance provides personal property and liability coverage for whatever happens within your unit’s walls. Continue Reading

Lenders Ratchet Up Requirements During Corona

Lenders are tightening their loan requirements in light of the corona chaos. Prospective home buyers are flocking to lenders in pursuit of those low interest rates, but lenders are not making it easy to qualify for loans, especially in higher-cost regions like The Bay Area.

It’s not difficult to understand lenders’ concerns amidst job losses and general economic instability. However, if you were preapproved for a loan in pre-corona times, it’s likely your lender has slapped some new requirements on that approval. Continue Reading

5 Tips for A Smooth Home Sale

Corona has slowed the real estate market down, but things can still move quickly when it comes to making an offer on a home. That’s why it’s critical that you and your agent review all the property details before you sign that contract.

The key to making a confident and successful home purchase lies in being prepared and knowledgeable. Here are five tips for being successful in the residential real estate game: Continue Reading

Prop 19: Transfer Tax Change on November Ballot

Up for a vote this November 3rd: Prop 19, which includes proposed changes to the property tax base transfer rules.

This ballot measure would let homeowners who are 55 or older transfer their property tax base to anywhere in California, for a more expensive home if need be. Eligible homeowners would also be able to make this transfer up to three times. Continue Reading

Corona Protocols Critical to SF Real Estate

We seem to be in another corona surge period, with San Francisco treading water when it comes to hospitalizations and rising infection rates. That’s why it’s extremely important for agents and clients to continue following correct property showing protocols when it comes to real estate business.

Listing agents, please make sure you have hand sanitizer and shoe covers in the property if you are allowing showings. It is not particularly encouraging when I bring clients to a property via lockbox, and find a sign requesting that we take our shoes off when there are no shoe covers in sight. And no hand sanitizer. Sticking a lockbox on the house and assuring me that I am scheduled for the showing isn’t convincing me that you’re handling things the proper way. Yes, I bring hand sanitizer with me, but please do your part to assure everyone’s safety.

And please resist the urge to put an A frame outside the property during an appointment timeframe. My clients and I arrive at a home and the anxiety level goes up if we think there’s a possibility random people off the street may be inside. If you have to market yourself, the house sign will be sufficient. Continue Reading

CrimeMapping A Cool Tool for SF Home Buyers

I always advise home buyers to do their due diligence if they’re concerned about crime activity around a property or in a particular neighborhood. Car theft/break-ins, muggings, assaults and burglaries are unfortunately incidents that happen in all areas. But some areas do have higher crime rates than others, and you should be aware of the nature and frequencies of crimes in the area you choose to call home in the future. Continue Reading

What Closing Costs Do Buyers Pay?

Closing costs include the various loan, title and insurance fees that a buyer pays in a transaction.

There is no fixed amount for closing costs, but they generally total one- to two percent of the purchase price. For example, I recently spoke with Karen McDowell at Citibank for her take on things. For a purchase of $1M – $1.5M, Karen typically tells clients to budget $10,000 for closing cost totals, excluding points. And as the purchase price goes up, she increases that total to $15,000. Costs will increase once you hit the $3M threshold; it’s best to pull your escrow officer in to estimate those costs.

Here’s a rundown on the major types of closing costs you’ll see when you buy your home: Continue Reading

Check Out District 4 Before You Flee SF for the Suburbs

Sheltering in place in a small flat with no outdoor space in a dense urban area has not been the ideal scenario this year. But before you decide to leave San Francisco behind because you can’t find the space you need, consider neighborhoods west of Twin Peaks.

Miraloma Park, Sherwood Forest, Ingleside Terrace, Forest Hill, Westwood Park, Diamond Heights—these are just a few of the neighborhoods in what we Realtors call “district 4” in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). These areas offer predominantly single-family home inventory and a more suburban feel, with yards, plenty of trees, and wide sidewalks. You’re also geographically central, with Stonestown Galleria, Ocean Avenue and West Portal retail nearby.

Here are a few of my favorite single-family homes in District 4 that are currently on the market. Give me a shout at eileen@insidesfre.com | 415.823.4656 if you’d like to chat about any of these homes:

451 Yerba Buena
Westwood Highlands

3BR/3BA, 3194 sq ft, 2 pkg
$2,375,000

451 Yerba Buena Avenue is a lovely English Tudor-style home with an awesome park-like yard, three bedrooms/two baths on the same level, gourmet kitchen and family room/bath down. Westwood Highlands has well-manicured, wide streets that aren’t packed with people, so you can go out for walks and not necessarily have to wear your masks constantly. [Listing courtesy of Berkshire-Hathaway Franciscan] Continue Reading

Don’t Get Sucked In By Super-Underpriced Properties

Don’t Get Sucked In By Super-Underpriced Properties

Heads up, home buyers: Super-underpriced homes are popping up in the market again. It’s a good time for a refresher on how this particular list price strategy works, so you don’t waste time on homes you can’t afford.

The coronavirus and ensuing shelter in place (SIP) temporarily influenced list prices in San Francisco, with many sellers and their agents going with transparent, closer-to-value asking prices. The idea was to limit property access to qualified buyers who could purchase the home at market value. Continue Reading

The Best Way To Screen Condos Before Scheduling a Showing

The real estate community is still working within corona limitations when it comes to showing property. Open houses won’t be returning anytime soon. Home-buying is all about qualified, ready-to-write-an-offer buyers who thoroughly screen homes via virtual tours with their agent prior to even thinking about seeing the property in person. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Corcoran Global Living

415.823.4656

eileen@insidesfre.com

DRE# 01352627

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